Fight or flight?
My fiancée and I have always argued a lot, but I just considered it normal. People disagree sometimes, right? We love each other, and our relationship is good in other ways. But our wedding is in June, and we’ve been arguing more than usual. My best friend says it’s a red flag, but she has never had a serious relationship, so I’m not sure she knows what she’s talking about. Is it bad for a couple to argue?
Arguments happen, even in healthy relationships. When a discussion goes awry, it can erupt into an argument. Arguments can escalate quickly into fights, which are serious and, often, dangerous. Here’s a breakdown of communication breakdowns: In a discussion, two people are sharing feelings and concerns while fully mindful of the value of the other person’s position. A discussion requires each participant to mentally occupy the paradox that we are, in reality, connected to the other person and, simultaneously, a unique and separate being. The intention in a discussion is to resolve a thorny issue to the satisfaction of both parties. When one person’s opinion morphs into a conviction that the other person is completely wrong, that discussion shape-shifts into an argument. Arguments rarely resolve the disagreement they are based in. The primary, although unconscious, value of an argument is to release anxiety and tension. When couples fail to unravel the little irritants in their relationship, those small stressors build up, triggering an argument.
When an argument explodes into a fight, the natural boundaries that ensure respect are erased. Fights are defined by any of the following behaviors: name-calling, insults, physical violence, threats or intimidation. Fights are huge red flags that should never be ignored. The first time a fight occurs, you must both see a counselor, separately or together, and be prepared for the possible end of the relationship.
Before your wedding, please commit to seeing a psychologist with your fiancée to assess your communication skills. You and your future spouse must learn new ways of managing disagreements so that issues find resolution while communication flourishes.
After 20 years of marriage, my wife and I separated. Honestly, I was done with her and this marriage five years ago. I have been dating online and find it confusing, or maybe I’m just out of practice. The women I contact never want to meet in person. I have spent a lot of time emailing and have had a few phone calls, but when I invite women out, they usually refuse or cancel on me. The two gals I have met in person were nothing like their profiles or photos, either. What gives?
Most people do not know themselves well enough to pen an accurate self-description. That means the bulk of online-dating profiles are sweet stories of who a person imagines herself or himself to be, or who a person hopes to become through the love of a soul mate. It is deceptive, but people don’t realize they are being misleading. They see their activity as wishful thinking, for the most part. Online daters pour that same sensibility into profile descriptions of the perfect partner. And that’s partly why online dating is such a gamble.
If you intend to provide an accurate profile, know this: Self-knowledge follows self-reflection. Self-reflection demands deep solitude interspersed with consultations from an honest, evolved spiritual guide. Often people who are divorced after a long marriage find it difficult to be quiet, alone and in reflection, or to seek wise guidance from another person. Start here: Wait until your divorce decree is in hand before dating anyone. Ending one relationship completely before beginning another is one of the basic criteria for dating like an adult.